A couple who have changed the lives of families with a charity in honour of the son they lost, are expecting a new baby.
Sarah and Chris Cookson were left devastated when their only child Charlie died in October 2013, aged two, after battling a mystery medical condition which meant he spent most of his short life in hospital.
Following his death, the couple, from Simonside, South Shields, set up the Charlie Cookson Foundation which gives grants to help families, who have a child with a life-limiting conditions.
Last year they also opened a charity store in South Shields town centre.
Now the pair are elated to find out Sarah is expecting and due to give birth in January.
Sarah, who is 14 weeks pregnant, said: “It took a long time for us to be brave enough to try and be a family again, but we felt ready.
“We had been through so much worry and heartache with our angel Charlie and still feel so much heartache every day.
“But we loved being a mammy and daddy so we decided to try again.”
She added: “There were so many emotions we went through when we found out, total joy matched with some fears.”
Charlie had numerous medical issues, including epilepsy, as part of his mystery condition which left him needing round the clock care.
During his life he also overcame a number of serious illnesses – including meningitis and septicaemia – and underwent several operations, including two hernia repairs and a brain biopsy.
However, none of his ailments were genetic and the couple know there’s no reason for this baby to have any similar health issues.
Sarah, who also runs the Sarah Howe Cookson School of Dance, said: “We are trying our very best to stay positive and ‘what will be will be’ - we’ll be ready for whatever our future holds.
“Charlie was unique, they had no idea he would be poorly and none of it was genetic.
“But doctors are keeping an extra close eye on me and I am having regular scans at the RVI, we’re hoping to find out if it’s a girl or boy at the 20 week scan.”
The couple have been inundated with well-wishers from loves ones and the charity’s supporters.
Sarah added: “We know this baby will have their angel big brother looking after him or her, and with the love, prayers and support we have received, this little baby has a good start!”